Verizon's 5G internet is coming in 2018, but it's not what you think it is


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Think your phone’s 4G LTE internet speed is fast? Think again.

In the second half of 2018, Verizon will deploy its blazing-fast 5G wireless network to the lucky (and those willing to pay) in Sacramento, Calif. But don’t get too psyched for wireless internet that could be 30-to-50 times faster than your current 4G speeds, because it’s only 5G for your home… not a connection that can be used outside.

Sacramento will be one of the first five U.S. markets that Verizon’s 5G network for the home will launch in. The other four will be announced later, the company says.

Home internet replacement

The 5G network Verizon announced is essentially a replacement for wired fiber optic internet. It’ll bring the same kind of quantum leap in bandwidth speeds to your home without the messiness of ripping open your walls for complicated and expensive network installations. But the most important detail here is that you won’t be able to access 5G speeds on your phone outside of your home. 

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t get excited for 5G in your home. The kinds of speeds 5G promises to bring could eliminate any latency (i.e. no more buffering while streaming video) and means feature-length movies will download in seconds instead of minutes or hours. The only real problem is that these speeds will all be stuck within the confines of your home, much like how your current broadband or Wi-Fi network is. 

The real dream is having 5G wireless internet speeds beamed directly to your phone no matter where you go, but that’s still a few years away. Wireless carriers and device makers are still deciding on 5G standards, which is slowing down the consumer rollout.

The 5G difference

The average American broadband download speed in the home (not on mobile) was a mediocre 17.2Mbps by the end of 2016, according to an Akamai report. 5G promises to blow that away with gigabit speeds. One gigabit is equal to 1,000 megabits.

Think about that for second. 

If Verizon’s 5G network even delivers 1Gbps wireless internet into your home, you’re already getting 58x faster speeds than the average wired broadband connection. And while Verizon hasn’t specified how fast its 5G network speeds will be, an early test witnessed by CNET showcased whopping speeds of 3.77Gbps. 

Holy crap!

That’s faster than Google Fiber, which delivers internet speeds  of up to 1Gbps. 

5G at home may not be what you immediately think of when you think of “5G” (most people will be thinking of it as internet speed for their phones), but it could impact everything, especially pertaining to the Internet of Things.

Videos will load faster. Big 4K-quality video games that are often 40-50 GB files will download in seconds. Everything connected to the internet will hopefully just work. At least that’s the dream. 

As great as Verizon’s push for 5G in the home is, it’s not the 5G that we’re all waiting for. When 5G hits your phone, your smartwatch, your car, etc. that’s when the internet revolution will really happen.

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